Hello. I am John Self. Welcome to Self Perspective.

Today, our big idea: Career change is a new career management tool for a different kind of economy.

Sixty years ago the number of people who seriously considered a career change was a relatively small. It happened, but it was the exception to the rule.

Today, career change is much more common thanks to a set of new economic conditions.

Something happened in 2009 – the reckless real estate investment bubble fueled by a slew of intricate, confusing and toxic investment vehicles that few people seemed to understand – exploded. The resulting fallout slammed on the breaks of economic growth and took the nation to the brink of a catastrophic financial meltdown.

Instead of a Great Depression, the country settled for a deep and painful Great Recession that pushed millions from all walks of life onto the rolls of the unemployed or underemployed.

Homes were lost and retirement funds destroyed as the markets crashed.

As the crisis continued to unfold economists began to suggest, and as it turned out rightly so, that the nation’s economy was entering a “new normal.”

The ensuing carnage left millions of Americans to cope with a very different job market governed by a new set of rules. Unable to find a new job, many workers dropped out and, filled with despair, simply stopped looking for work while others were forced to look for a new career path to support themselves and their families. Some even went through training in a whole new area, such as aviation training, to work in a totally new industry.

Today, while the economy is still operating with a new set of norms, there is more stability and more confidence in the future. And yet, while the stock market has enjoyed record highs, for many Americans the return to the good old days marked by constancy, security and comfortable incomes, has remained an illusive goal.

Workers who 20 years ago would never have thought about changing careers, are doing just that.

Today, a surprising number of American workers are asking themselves why they continue to work in a job that pays less than pre-2009 levels and one that they do not really enjoy.

This career path soul searching is occurring for Baby Boomers and members of Generation X at a time when Millennials are beginning to play a dominate role in the workforce. Surprisingly, if early research is accurate, the Millennials are beginning their careers questioning their occupational choices.

Let’s take a step back and look at this issue by the numbers:

In a series of surveys we found that:

  • Only 14 percent of US workers believe they have the perfect job. That said, one’s satisfaction may vary depending on where you live. In San Francisco for example, 60 percent of those surveyed said they did not want to change jobs.
  • Twenty-two percent of the respondents in the San Francisco market said they were in their perfect job. In Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta, only eight percent of those surveyed said they had their dream job.
  • In New York, 62 percent reported they were somewhat dissatisfied with their career choice compared to 67 percent in Atlanta and 60 percent Los Angeles.
  • A majority of workers said they began their career with definite plans of where they wanted to work, yet 73 percent said they landed in a job they had not expected.

Remember the Millennials? Eighty percent of this group in their 20s said they want to change careers. If you are a human resource executive tasked with minimizing the effects of turnover, that number must be a little scary.

Most Americans will have between 8 and 15 different jobs in their career. The average tenure is currently about 4.6 years. Late stage Baby Boomers have held, on average, 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 to 42.

So, if you believe the numbers, career change is no longer the exception, it is an integral part of today’s career experience.

In my case, I have worked in the news business, healthcare, aviation, and executive search. The majority of my time has been spent in one industry, healthcare. But in that time I have held a multiple of jobs and 5 made definable careers changes.

As our new normal economy evolves, and as new job opportunities open up, a career change can be a rewarding pursuit, but it requires plenty of thought and careful planning. Check out my blog on Thursday for strategies to help you navigate the big leap.

Yes, there are risks but for those who do their homework, it can be rewarding professionally, financially and personally.

That is it for today. I invite you to follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. My blog can be found at JohnGSelf.Com and on LinkedIn.

A new career management video will debut on Saturday on the John G. Self page on YouTube. I hope you will subscribe to the blog and the video series.

Thanks for listening.